FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Lt. Gen. Thomas R. Turner II assumed command of U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) Dec. 4 in a morning ceremony in the historic Quadrangle on Fort Sam Houston.

Turner replaced Lt. Gen. Robert T. Clark who retired from the Army after 36 years of active service.

Turner said he is honored to be able to continue to serve.

"There is no organization more critical to protecting the United States than U.S. Northern Command and its components," Turner said. "I look forward to the challenges ahead."

United States Army North is the Army's newest service component command and reports to U.S. Northern Command, the unified command responsible for homeland defense and civil support.

Immediately before taking command, Turner pinned on his third star. He comes to San Antonio from Kentucky, where he commanded the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell from May 2004 through November 2006.

During that assignment, Turner served in Iraq from September 2005 to September 2006 as commander of Task Force Band of Brothers in the Multi-National Division-North.

Clark assumed command of Fifth United States Army in December 2003 and oversaw its transformation to U.S. Army North. The command's new mission includes defense of the United States homeland, support to civil authorities during natural or manmade disasters, and security cooperation activities with the armies of Canada and Mexico.

Clark congratulated Turner on being selected for the job of leading the young organization during an important time.

"This organization exists to think about, plan and train for nightmarish scenarios - they will be busy doing terribly important work," Clark said. "ARNORTH, now that it is stood up, is on the verge of rapid intellectual growth as it finds its way in the complex business of homeland defense and civil support. Just as NORTHCOM has become a very sophisticated, graduate level command and control headquarters, so too will ARNORTH under Tom Turner's leadership."

Clark was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal during the ceremony. A graduate of Douglas MacArthur High School in San Antonio, Clark and his family will make their home in the city.